December 10, 2023

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Iran prepared to aid Syria during reconstruction period: envoy

TEHRAN- Amir Saeed Iravani, the Permanent Representative of Iran to the UN, on Monday underlined Iran’s support for Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and declared that the Islamic Republic is prepared to help the country throughout its reconstruction phase.

Addressing a UN Security Council meeting on “The Situation in the Middle East: (Syria),” Iravani said, “Iran reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting the people and government of Syria in overcoming the threats of terrorism. We stand ready to assist in rebuilding their country, ensuring its unity, and preserving its territorial integrity.”

The text of Iravani’s speech is as follows:

The escalating humanitarian situation in Syria demands urgent and impartial humanitarian aid. The delivery of assistance to all regions of Syria, devoid of any political influence, is paramount to saving lives and reaching the most vulnerable individuals.

Despite the Security Council’s failure to reach an agreement on a resolution for a cross-border mechanism, the UN has continued to use all available access modalities to reach people in need. In this context, Bab Al-Salam, and Al Ra’ee continue to be in use for the cross-border movement of UN aid delivery which have significantly improved direct and efficient access to affected individuals, enabling enhanced humanitarian operations.

In the meantime, the Syrian government, in a sovereign decision on July 13, granted permission for a six-month period to the United Nations and its relevant Specialized Agencies to utilize the Bab al-Hawa crossing point, thus creating a legal basis for delivering humanitarian assistance to the northwest region of the country.

Respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity throughout the process is crucial in addressing the humanitarian crisis effectively. As such, preventing aid diversion to terrorist organizations in the northwest region and ensuring transparent and non-discriminatory distribution of aid are essential aspects that need careful consideration.

Iran commends the tireless efforts of UN agencies and humanitarian partners in their work towards alleviating the suffering of the Syrian people. According to the OCHA report, as of 21 July, the UN has dispatched 3,719 trucks with aid and completed 164 cross-border missions into north-west Syria since the earthquakes struck.

In addition to providing immediate relief, aid operations in Syria must focus on infrastructure restoration, reconstruction initiatives, and overall economic recovery. Such an approach has the potential to create an environment favorable to the voluntarily return of refugees and displaced people to their homes.

Given the burden that neighboring countries, particularly Lebanon, have carried during the crisis, the return of refugees and internally displaced people to their respective homes in Syria should not be politicized or used as leverage against the Syrian government.

To this end, it is imperative that international donors fulfill their obligations and provide the necessary funding for the activities and programs of the United Nations. This support is crucial for the implementation of projects outlined in the humanitarian Response Plan and Strategic Framework for cooperation between Syria and the United Nations. These projects aim to revitalize the economy and facilitate the dignified and voluntary return of refugees and displaced individuals to their homes.

The continuation of unilateral sanctions against Syrians is a key impediment to improving Syria’s humanitarian and economic plight. We firmly reiterate our call for an immediate end to these illegal and cruel measures, which have damaged the economy and people’s daily lives while limiting the government’s ability to provide essential services.

The recent report by the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, dated 3 July 2023, sheds light on the dire situation in Syria resulting from unilateral sanctions and overcompliance. The findings, based on her visit to Syria from 31 October to 10 November 2022 (A/HRC/54/23/Add.1), highlight the severe damage caused to the country’s economy, leading to grave human rights violations, and imposing immense humanitarian challenges.

The Secretary-General’s recent report, submitted in accordance with Resolution 2672 (2023) (S/2023/419), also underlined the devastating consequences of sanctions on humanitarian relief delivery and access to essential services.

Iran remains committed to cooperating with its partners in the Astana process to achieve long-term and sustainable normalization in Syria. We continue our support for the ongoing Syrian-Turkish dialogue, recognizing its crucial role in these broader efforts.

We support the resumption of the Constitutional Committee meetings at the earliest opportunity to continue the progress made toward resolving the crisis.

In this context, we remain committed in our support of the Special Envoy’s efforts and his engagement with all parties.

Iran once more condemns the continuous acts of aggression and military attacks by the Israeli regime against Syria, particularly those that target civilian infrastructure, alongside the persistent occupation of the Syrian Golan.

The Security Council must address the malicious activities and acts of aggression by the Israeli regime that clearly contravene international law, and international humanitarian law, and violate the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic. Moreover, these malign activities not only destabilize the region but also exacerbate tensions.

In conclusion, Iran reaffirms its commitment to continue supporting the people and government of Syria in overcoming the threats of terrorism. We stand ready to assist in rebuilding their country, ensuring its unity, and preserving its territorial integrity.

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